Donald Trump

Republican National Security Experts Say Trump 'Would Be the Most Reckless President in American History'

Given Clinton's warmongering, he may not even be the most reckless candidate this year.

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Trump campaign video

Last March, when it still looked like someone other than Donald Trump might win the Republican presidential nomination, 122 "GOP national security leaders" declared him unfit for office. A similar letter published yesterday has just 50 signatures. Does that mean Trump has become more popular with Republican national security experts, or that some of them have accepted him as at least preferable to Hillary Clinton? Not necessarily.

Twenty-one of the people who signed the earlier letter also signed the new one, including former State Department counselor Eliot Cohen (who organized the March letter), former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, former Undersecretary of Defense Dov Zakheim, and former U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick (who also has served as president of the World Bank). Of the remaining 101, many are on record as continuing to oppose Trump, and some of them have joined Cohen in supporting Clinton instead. Among the rest, the only anti-Trump waverer I have noticed is former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who signed the first letter and subsequently warned that "a Donald Trump presidency would imperil our national security" but nevertheless spoke at the convention where Trump was nominated, although his remarks were limited to Clinton's awfulness. I don't know how many of the March letter's signers, if any, have followed Mukasey's example.

The new signatories include former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden, former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, and former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson. Most of the statement to which they have affixed their names is hard to quarrel with, including these parts:

Mr. Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President. He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world. He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary….

Unlike previous Presidents who had limited experience in foreign affairs, Mr. Trump has shown no interest in educating himself. He continues to display an alarming ignorance of basic facts of contemporary international politics….

Mr. Trump lacks the temperament to be President. In our experience, a President must be willing to listen to his advisers and department heads; must encourage consideration of conflicting views; and must acknowledge errors and learn from them. A President must be disciplined, control emotions, and act only after reflection and careful deliberation. A President must maintain cordial relationships with leaders of countries of different backgrounds and must have their respect and trust.

In our judgment, Mr. Trump has none of these critical qualities. He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood. He does not encourage conflicting views. He lacks self-control and acts impetuously. He cannot tolerate personal criticism. He has alarmed our closest allies with his erratic behavior.

The letter does not quite endorse Clinton, saying "many of us…have doubts" about her. But it is clear that Cohen and many of the other signatories prefer Clinton because she is a more consistent hawk. The letter contains hints of the hackles raised by Trump's intermittent skepticism of foreign intervention and foreign entanglements:

Mr. Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he has little understanding of America's vital national interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable alliances, and the democratic values on which U.S. foreign policy must be based….

We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless President in American history.

While Trump has the potential to claim that title, I am not at all convinced that Clinton's reckless warmongering is the safer choice. Trump's response to the letter says the signatories deserve "blame for making the world such a dangerous place," criticizes Clinton for fostering "the rise of ISIS" by supporting the wars in Iraq and Libya, and promises "an America First vision" that "seeks peace over war" (except when it comes to trade?) and "makes other countries pay their fair share for their protection." But he also promises to "rebuild[] our military" and "stand[] up to foreign dictators." Trump's approach to foreign policy, like the rest of his platform, remains a muddle. It may nevertheless be better than Clinton's clarity.

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  1. more reckless than Barry O? that’s some pretty reckless standard to live up to…

    1. Not to mention Georgie W!

  2. Given Clinton’s warmongering, he may not even be the most reckless candidate this year.

    What an odd way to say that.

    1. Ya, but it’s nice of them to get with the program….

    2. Less odd considering the quote in the headline.

    3. They like getting the usual suspects here wound up.

      1. “Wind up the usual suspects!”

        /CPT Renault

  3. He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world.

    How much weaker can it possibly get?

  4. yeah, considering the first thing the Clinton campaign said after the convention, was to announce their plans to attack Assad which results in installing al Qaeda in Syria.. I pretty sure she wins the most crazed award.

    1. Well, she apparently turned Honduras into hell on earth ( I have to look more into this), the middle east into an orgy of slavery, murder, cannibalism and chaos, created a refugee crisis that is tearing Europe apart, supported a deal that will turn Iran into a nuclear power…why stop now?

      She is a sociopath and like all sociopaths leaves a wake of misery and destruction in her path. She is only extraordinary because she has been in such an extraordinary position to do so.

    2. Do you have a link for this? My quick search only turned up her old SOS stuff.

  5. If I worked for the Trump campaign, I’d pay these guys to go on radio shows and send them on a whistle-stop tour of the US to repeat all these talking points. This kind of talk is a big part of why Trump is the nominee in the first place.

    1. Yeah the quote;

      Mr. Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he has little understanding of America’s vital national interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable alliances, and the democratic values on which U.S. foreign policy must be based….

      Struck me very much as out-of-touch with security as Trump may be, these Security Experts are just as much out-of-touch with politics and popular opinion, if not more.

    2. Under these guy’s watch the world has become far more dangerous and chaotic. We should listen to them.

  6. One thing we can be certain of; these noble public servants are only acting out of selfless patriotism, and not in any way motivated by their own professional or pecuniary interests.

  7. That letter actually makes me want to vote for Trump.

    Seriously.

    After decades of the U.S. middle east policy being basically whacking people on behalf of the Saudi monarch – while they preach jihad against us.

    What the fuck was the meddling in the internal politics of the Ukraine that resulted in the annexation of the Crimea and the Russians siezing most of the Ukraine’s Navy?

    Was that responsible?

    What was the near blunder into a war with Russia over Syria with the offhanded “chamical weapons are a red line” comment by Obama? Fucking 7 dimensional chess?

    What this letter tells me is either:
    1) The U.S. is so entangled in alliances that it is almost guaranteed to be dragged into a shooting war the way England got dragged into Germany’s spat with Russia over Serbia in 1914, and these peopel are too incompetent to have avoided it, OR
    2) These people are morons.

    1. 3) These people are tools of the military industrial complex, and the prospect of ending the All War All The Time status quo is making their masters very nervous.

      Funny how nobody took these clowns seriously until they attacked Trump. Shockingly, I’ve seen this story all over the MSM.

    2. You forgot the third and correct option, both. They are morons. The problem with internationalists is they make every regional crisis into a world crisis. I understand that you can’t be completely isolationist. But these people fall into the other ditch. They meddle in every regional conflict and in doing so make those conflicts a test of US credibility and thus give every regional conflict the potential for being a major war. Once US credibility is on the line, the conflict is no longer regional since the US walking away will have effects on every other place the US is involved. These assholes are constitutionally incapable of understanding that. They meddle in everywhere in the world, US interests in the subject or other nations’ spheres of influence be damned. And then some day if we are not lucky we will like England in 1914, end up being drug into a cataclysmic war over an issue that in no way warrants such a sacrifice. England went into a war killed a generation and left it bankrupt over Belgium neutrality and its obsessive desire to ensure a balance of power between France and Germany. These assholes will do the same to us if we let them.

  8. It’s wishful thinking to hope that Trump’s policies will be more peaceful than Clinton. “I’m the most militaristic person in the room, believe me” and “We need to bring back waterboarding, folks, and much, much worse” and “bomb the hell out of ISIS” (crowd erupts in cheers). Whereas the dems have a strong anti-war faction (that almost shut down the convention) plus Kaine is responsible on war powers – a positive signal. Trumputin will start WW III against Arabia. He is spoiling for a fight with Muslims – he even tried to hire a few to run around with butter knives screaming “Allah Akhbar” before his speech yesterday (but couldn’t find anyone who looked Arabic). Yes Hillary is terrible. But Trump is terrible squared. I predict Obama will end drone strikes on Syria/Libya by the end of his term. His justifications for it are getting more and more tenuous. Yes Europe has serious terrorism problems – all self imposed due to the Western Secular Caliphate’s Shariah law. They must immediately decriminalize speech and religion.

    1. The key distinction is that,as it is difficult to discern what is normal stream-of-consciousness Trump talk and his actual policy positions, Clinton has an actual record. A foreign policy record that makes her a more masculine Lindsey Graham.

    2. Pay up your bet, shitstain.

    3. Yeah, a strong anti-war faction that faded into irrelevance almost as soon as Obama was elected. What on earth makes you think they’ll try any harder to hold Clinton’s feet to the fire? Oh, and I expect Obama to “end drone strikes” right after he closes Guantanamo, which is to say, about half-past never.

  9. Trump’s foreign policy doesn’t seem to have an iota of thought or principle. It’s roughly equivalent to pulling out a magic eightball to decide on geopolitical strategy. That said, it probably is preferable to Clinton’s hyper-interventionism. At least with the Trump random policy generator, you have a non-trivial chance of not wasting our blood and treasure.

    1. Yea, at least 1 of the options on the 8-ball is “No”

    2. His foreign policy seems to be that we should start acting in what is in the best interests of the country instead what is in the perceived best interests or the world or the best interests of advancing some vague notion of “stability’ or “peace” or such crap. Every President since Reagan, all four of them, have been international do gooders at heart who wanted to leave the world a “legacy”. I think having a President who just wanted to look out for the interests of the people who elected him might be a nice change.

      1. And a nice legacy.

      2. Tut, tut, John, haven’t you heard? “America First” is racist!

        1. “America First” is great if it means “don’t use the military except to directly defend actual American interests”. Less great if it means trade protectionism and moronic nationalism.

          Seems like Trump might be promising both.

          1. What is moronic nationalism as opposed to the non moronic kind?

      3. Sounds nice, but I have no faith in Trump’s ability to recognize the country’s best interests.

  10. We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless President in American history.

    “I find your indifference to my priorities and concerns terrifying and hurtful.”

  11. Were she anyone else, you’d be hearing about this nonstop through November.

    In June 2016, one of France’s most well-known publications, Le Monde, released an investigative report accusing LaFarge of making payments to ISIS. The connection was first made in February 2016, when a Syrian opposition publication revealed emails and documents it obtained from LaFarge, implicating CEO Frederic Jolibois negotiated with ISIS in order for the company to continue doing business in Syria.

    Between 1990 and 1992, Clinton served on Lafarge’s Board of Directors. “Shortly before Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992, Lafarge was fined $1.8 million by the Environmental Protection Agency for pollution violations at its Alabama plant. A year later, the Clinton administration reduced that fine to less than $600,000,” reported The Washington Post in 2007. While Clinton served on the board for Lafarge, the company was embroiled in controversy over its use of hazardous waste to fuel its U.S. cement plants.

    1. I wonder how much Lafarge donated to the Clinton Foundation, or its equivalent back then.

      1. Was there any equivalent before Bill was president?

    2. Unless I’m missing something, it sounds like a bit of a stretch to say she is somehow responsible for something the company did 20+ years after she was on their board.

      I’d rather hear more about how she is an unprincipled, power-hungry monster interested only in her own power and prestige and about her lousy performance as senator and SoS.

      1. Something something Bain Capital.

  12. “”””Eliot Cohen”””

    Founding member of “The Project for the New American Century” which brought us such reckless policy as invading Iraq.

    Hey Eliot, how has that worked out for the country?

    Oh, I know it worked out for you but what about everyone else?

  13. Harrumph, harrumph!

    I do get a chuckle out of the enormously high opinion these people obviously have of themselves, as if anyone at all gives a flying fuck about their opinions.

    1. My favorite part is where they talk about Trump having no respect for the constitution. Trump has no respect for the Constitution, as opposed to the people who endorsed NSA listening to everyone’s phone calls and the President having the power to assassinate American citizens.

      1. ^This.

  14. Finally a criticism of Trump so stupid even reason can’t buy it. This statement is so offensive, it is making me into a peacenik. The entire statement is completely fact free. There is not a single concrete example of what exactly Trump is supposed to have done to warrant this statement. It is just a long list of unsupported accusations and invective. The closes thing to a concrete example is that Trump “persistently compliments our adversaries and threatens our allies and friends.” No examples of how he does this of course. And the authors apparently think the American public has been asleep for the last 16 years as Bush threatened and cajoled various allies to support the invasion of Iraq and cozied up to the Chinese and all sorts of dastardly people in support of the war on terror. Of course Obama has damn near ruined the US relationship with Israel, done everything he can to sabotage our relationship with the UK while supporting the Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt and sending hundreds of billions of dolalrs to Iran in a shame nuclear deal.

    And Trump? Gee, he wants someoen to explain why Europe can’t defend itself and why antagonizing Russia is suddenly a good idea. But he is the reckless one. These people are fucking appalling.

    1. You can’t prove that he wouldn’t do something reckless. /sarc

      1. Precautionary Principle FTW!

    2. Maybe it makes no sense because they’re talking about the wrong person?

      In our judgment, Mr. Trump Mx. Clinton has none of these critical qualities. He She is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood. He She does not encourage conflicting views. He She lacks self-control and acts impetuously. He She cannot tolerate personal criticism. He She has alarmed our closest allies with his erratic behavior.

      1. Touche. And if they had been talking about Clinton, they wouldn’t have had to skimp on the concrete details and examples. The only problem would have been keeping it under 10 pages.

    3. “a shame nuclear deal”

      another benepropism from John

  15. TL;DR:

    Establishment GOP cronies know who wants to continue buttering their toast and it ain’t Trump.

    1. In a nutshell, that’s this bunch and the entire #NeverTrump crew.

      1. Betting that every one of these fuckwits depends on a #NeverTrump’er for their job.

  16. It may be only a matter of time before one of his blurts on the social medias causes an Iranian scientist’s execution, but I don’t think it’s happened yet.

  17. “Republican National Security Experts Say Trump ‘Would Be the Most Reckless President in American History'”

    …but they still won’t vote for Gary Johnson, because continuing to meddle in the affairs of foreign countries is much more important than anything else. And if you even mildly question this, you’re an isolationist wacko, or not living in the real world.

    And what’s this “alarmed our closest allies” and “indispensable alliances” business? After years of purposely shitting on same…

    1. Not intervening at every opportunity = Reckless. It is known.

    1. Nice.

  18. Also…

    “In our experience, a President must be willing to listen to his advisers and department heads…”

    Of course, they’re referring to themselves. Sorry neocon assholes, you “experts” done fucked up for quite a while, and made things an absolute mess on the foreign policy front. You don’t get to sound the alarms about how tragic things will become if we don’t follow your plan.

    1. At least as important, of course, is that the President’s adviser and department heads listen to him and do as they are told.

  19. These are the same “national security experts” that got the US into Iraq, nation-building in Afghanistan, etc., etc. Trump should wear their condemnation as a badge of honor.

    1. Yes. What infuriates me most about these people is that none of them ever pay a price for their fuck ups. Had any Republican but Trump won the nomination and the Presidency, these same assholes who were in there under Bush would have walked right back into power having learned nothing.

      1. I seriously doubt Rand Paul would be buying their bullshit if he had won. But, yeah ….

        1. I will give you Paul. I forgot about him. But he is the only one. And i can guarantee you that had Paul won the nomination, they would be going after him just like they are going after Trump.

      2. Absolutely this.

  20. In our experience, a President must be willing to listen to his advisers and department heads

    “If Trump gets elected, we’ll be reduced to writing crabby letters to the editor of the Wall Street Journal.”

  21. And Regan was going to start WWIII.

    Our national security “experts” always seem to overestimate their expertise.

  22. “criticizes Clinton for fostering “the rise of ISIS” by supporting the wars in Iraq and Libya, and promises “an America First vision” that “seeks peace over war” (except when it comes to trade?)”

    That is an apt question, if trade wars are acceptable maybe Cola Wars are too.

  23. They are afraid he might send sensitive information over an insecure private server?

    1. Damn your quick fingers!

  24. Holy cow!
    Do you think he’d be reckless enough to, oh, put classified material on a non-secure server in the basement? That reckless?!

    1. Or send $400 million dollars in untraceable cash to the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism?

      Or do you think he might decide to intervene in a civil war without any plan for what will happen afterwards and basically leave the place a failed state run by ISIS and various militias? Do you think he might do that Sevo?

  25. We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless President in American history.

    I suppose, then, that they would have to agree with Clinton that her intervention in Libya really is “smart power at its best”. Either that, or they’re angling for a job in the Clinton Administration, which is at least a 3:1 favorite to win.

    One upside to a Trump victory is that he might be able to remove the miserable failures who have directed US foreign policy since 1990. Coupled with the very real possibility that he could be impeached and convicted if he went too far, I prefer Trump over Hillary. Of course, I’d eat rat poison before I’d vote for either one.

    1. Either that, or they’re angling for a job in the Clinton Administration,

      Ding. Ding. They are eager to be the bipartisan merkin on the Clinton administration.

      1. It is not just the Clinton administration. It is past that. If Trump wins and does successfully question the value of what these people are selling, then they are finished. Trump as much as anything is a threat to the cult of the expert and the wonk. That is why Washington is so terrified of him and so united and willing to do or say anything to stop him.

        I have said from day one what scares these people about Trump is not that he would fail as President. They would love that. It is not like they care about the country and Trump failing would give them the big I told you so. What terrifies them is him succeeding. if a reality TV star can go up and do the “world’s most difficult job”, then why exactly are we listening to these idiots?

    2. Of course, I’d eat rat poison before I’d vote for either one.

      Prescription rat poison?

  26. While Trump has the potential to claim that title, I am not at all convinced that Clinton’s reckless warmongering is the safer choice.

    I’d say that Nick Gillespie is hardest hit, but after he reads this line he might actually punch Sollum in the face.

    1. You think Nick will take it hard, wait until Suderman reads this. Sollumn is off the invite list to the next McCardle get together. That I can assure you.

  27. Here’s a thought: lets devise a column, 2 columns actually, comparing Trump to Mussolini.

    http://www.banklawyersblog.com…..970d-800wi

    Donald Benito

    And put in what you believe are the comparable attributes of each. Say on immigration, human rights, economics, etc.

    Perhaps we could then say, “yeah, Il Douche is pretty bad, but not as bad as Il Duce.”

    1. “Everything for the hair, nothing outside the hair, nothing against the hair!”

      1. That’s a good parody on the fascist state.

    2. Is Mussolini running, too?

      1. I think it’s more like a “channeling” thing; like Fusionist said, “Everything for the hair…”

  28. Awesome stuff coming from maybe the most dismally incompetent gang of so-called “elites” in human history; the bunch that more or less wrecked the world and created the mess we’re all now in.

  29. Better?

    Ms. Clinton overflows with the character, values, and experience to be President. She strengthens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world. She has deep knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary….

    Like previous Presidents who had limited experience in foreign affairs, Ms. Clinton shows interest in educating herself. She displays an astounding and deep knowledge of contemporary international politics….

    Ms. Clinton possess the temperament to be President. In our experience, a President must be willing to listen to her advisers and department heads; must encourage consideration of conflicting views; and must acknowledge errors and learn from them. A President must be disciplined, control emotions, and act only after reflection and careful deliberation. A President must maintain cordial relationships with leaders of countries of different backgrounds and must have their respect and trust.

    In our judgment, Ms. Clinton has all of these critical qualities. She is able and willing to separate truth from falsehood. She encourages conflicting views. She possesses self-control and never acts impetuously. She tolerates personal criticism. She would never alarmed our allies by her behavior.

    1. That’s pretty fucked up, Pinky. It’s like the comment on communist propaganda:the object was not to mislead or disparage, but to simply overrule people by forcing them to listen to blatant lies, and not permit anyone to question, much less counter it; the ultimate humiliation.

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